|Mr. Lu at Royal Birkdale in 1971.|
Mr. Lu had plenty of game and made quite a splash in ‘71 on golf’s foremost international stage. He was the first winner of the Hong Kong Open in 1959, and went on to titles in the 1965 Philippine Open and the 1966 Taiwan Open. Paired with Trevino on the final day at Royal Birkdale 41 years ago, Mr. Lu sported a melon-colored collarless shirt and a bright blue porkpie hat.
(One writer described it as a “silly little hat” that the British called a “trilby,” but I expect that Marty Hackel, Golf Digest’s “Mr. Style,” would approve of Mr. Lu’s choice of headwear.)
One shot behind Trevino at the last hole, Mr. Lu badly hooked his second shot on the par-5 and struck Lillian Tipping squarely on the head. His golf ball bounced back into the fairway as Mrs. Tipping fell to the ground. It was a terrific break at a crucial moment, but it upset the golfer.
“I’ll never forget that women,” Mr. Lu said in 2008. “I was so sorry when I hit her. I hit her so hard.”
Shaken but still conscious, Mrs. Tipping had a message for the golfer: “Mr. Lu, get another birdie for me.”
But so did Trevino to claim victory by a single stroke.
Lee Trevino won the Claret Jug for the first time. Mr. Lu, carried from the final green on the shoulders of two men, won the admiration of British golf fans. The following week at Biarritz, he also won the French Open. One of his new fans, Mrs. Tipping, had sent him cables every day wishing him well.
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